‘The Murder Wall’ is Mari Hannah’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring DCI Kate Daniels, a detective based in Newcastle.
Eleven months ago, Kate entered a church in her home town to light a candle for her long dead mother. There she discovered the body of the priest and a girl who had been raped before her murder. Kate has spent nearly a year trying to solve the crime without much success. Now her boss has placed her on another case.
A man has been murdered. Kate knows Alan Stephens, the ex-husband of a close friend. But she keeps this to herself so that she can keep on the case – her first as Senior Investigating Officer. But despite Kate being SIO, her boss Detective Superintendent Bright is micro-managing the case. And against Kate’s judgement, Stephens’ ex-wife Jo Soulsby is charged with murder. Kate is devastated as she and Jo shared a relationship in the past – her sexual orientation just another of the many secrets that Kate is keeping.
Eventually Kate discovers a lead that connects Stephens’ murder to a number of other murders and now Kate and her team are on the hunt for a serial killer. But as she closes in on the depraved killer, the killer is also spying on her. He has decided to add Kate to his list of people who need to die.
This was a tense and atmospheric novel. The tension didn’t let up from beginning to end.
There were some wonderful characters in the story. Kate Daniels is a likeable and multi-layered character, someone I’m looking forward to getting to know better in future novels in the series. Her boss Philip Bright and her colleagues Hank Gormley and Lisa Carmichael were also good to get to know.
This novel was an excellent start to the series and I’m looking forward to reading the next novel – ‘Settled Blood’.